I woke up this morning with a stiff neck. It’s not terrible, like the one I had last year. It’s just sore and means that if I whip my head round quickly, forgetting that I have a stiff neck, it makes me go ‘ooyah!’ quite loudly. I am typing this with a hot water bottle balanced in the crook of my neck. It is not a look I recommend for this season.
Tallulah has the day off of school today. It is a teacher training day. This is the second one this term. It’s most annoying. I am probably being wildly unfair to teachers here, and am willing to be shown the error of my ways, but I wonder why teacher days cannot be arranged in the school holidays? Teachers get more holidays than virtually any other profession, and they are paid for them. They are expected to do work during them, sure, like lesson planning and marking and the like, so why can’t they have their training days then? Am I just being stupid and missing something blindingly obvious?
Oscar has a serious case of the grouches today. He slept very badly last night and woke up several times moaning and wailing for one tedious reason after another. He is full of cold, and has been since last week, but as he seems to be getting physically better, his mood seems worse. The broken sleep of last night is not contributing to household harmony today.
Tallulah likes being in charge, all the time. She has to be the boss. Not only does she have to be the boss, but if she can sow a little disharmony amongst the troops while she is being the boss, so much the better. Oscar’s fuse is currently shorter than a dwarf’s temper. He is not in the mood to be challenged, at all, ever.
My plan is to finish up here and then keep them on the move all day until bed time, with me physically wedged between them for as much of that time as possible. I think it is the only thing that will get us through to the end of the day without blood being spilled. With my neck like this, mostly I would like to be lying on the sofa, watching rubbish t.v. and moaning, but the neck must be sacrificed if I am to raise these children to adulthood. It is my bounden duty to stop them killing each other, and anyone who gets in their path.
I have bought some bags of those small but delicious Lindt Lindor chocolate eggs. I shall be using these as bribes. I think it will work. It works for me. I would walk over hot coals for a Lindor egg. I do, and I say this in a whisper because it seems quite sacreligious, actually prefer them to Cadbury’s Mini Eggs. There isn’t much in it though to be truthful.
I did not blog yesterday because I sat compulsively watching multiple episodes of The Killing with my husband, and working out ever more complex theories about whodunnit. Goodness it is a fine programme. I have been meaning to watch it for ages. It is right up my street, as you, my commenters and four hundred of my other friends keep mailing me to tell me. I have dutifully recorded all the episodes on Sky Plus, and been pestering Jason to watch them with me. He is not very keen on things with subtitles, but I have gradually worn away his resistance until he gave in. We are hooked. I am hoping he will not be too late home from work tonight, so that we can watch even more.
For those of you who have not yet been privy to the information, it is a detective serial. It is Danish, and very noir and complex. It is, as I believe the very wise Mrs. Jones said to me, like a cross between Wallander and 24. I think the 24 reference is due to the frenetic pace and the race against time, rather than it having someone like Kiefer Sutherland grunting through his teeth while padlocked to a burning oil tanker. This is good, because I hate 24. The first season was just about tolerable, but surely after that you would know that Jack Bauer was just an accident waiting to happen? As my friend says: ‘I wouldn’t go to the end of our road and back with him.’ Quite.
I am quite glad we have saved The Killing until now to be honest. I am not good at living with suspense. I like to know what is happening immediately. I am one of the instant gratification generation after all. We have eighteen episodes recorded, and the final two are on Saturday. This means that I will have caught up just in time to neatly watch the last two episodes without having to twist myself up in knots, waiting. I would like to say that I planned this. It would be a big fat lie though.
Apart from indulging myself in my fetish for dark, crime thrillers under the pretense that I was hoping to polish up my (non-existent) Danish, yesterday was spent taking the kids and my brother to Oxford. We made our annual pilgrimage to the Pitt Rivers museum, which I have blogged about before on numerous occasions, as being one of my favourite places on earth.
Every time I have attempted to take the children there something has happened to cut our visit short, or in some way spoil it. For the last two years, only the stones and bones (dinosaurs and geology) bit has been open. Now, finally, the anthropological rooms are open to the public again, after an extensive overhaul. It was worth the wait.
The building is magnificent. The hall that houses the stones and bones is a gigantic, Victorian edifice with pillars of different types of stone, soaring into the sky, supporting the most beautiful and intricate glass and iron work roof. All the stone work is carved with different specimens of leaves and trees and natural history type stuff. There are exhibits which have the most unusual and highly welcome signage that says: ‘Please touch’. There is always something new to do or see, and I have been a regular visitor there for the past fifteen years. It is a delight.
My favourite rooms however, are the anthropology rooms. You go through some double doors, and into a completely different space. The stones and bones room is light and airy. This one is dark and moody with subdued lighting and no windows. The exhibits are so fragile they cannot see the light of day, and you creep round, peering into the glass cases in the stygian gloom, but oh, it is worth looking.
They have the most fascinating collection of objects, from Netsukes to Noh masks, from tribal costumes made from the most magnificently coloured feathers, to rain coats made of seal innards. They have full sized sailing boats gliding across the sky above you, suspended from the rafters. There are ritual head dresses, glorious jewellery from the Romans to the tiniest tribes you have never even heard of. There are puppets and weapons and musical instruments, and amulets and magical objects, and just about everything. Where the cases cannot show everything there are racks of drawers under the cases which have special, glassed in tops, so you can pull them out and look at more treasure.
It is glorious.
What I really wanted to show the children, and what stopped Oscar whinging for the first time that day however, was the case of shrunken heads. Oh yes! There is a whole cabinet of ‘war trophies’ from tribes which employ the bodies of their vanquished foes to give them strength in future battles. There was even the recipe for how to shrink a head, should you ever be required to do so.
It was awesome.
That and the trip to George and Davis’ ice cream parlour on Little Clarendon Street, made our day.
I have just had a brainwave. If the children behave too badly today I shall spend a few hours shrinking their heads and then take myself out for ice cream. If it worked yesterday, I don’t see why it won’t work today.